Sunday, January 22


Last spring I was babysitting for some good friends of mine. I love their family. I love their kids. And there is never a dull moment with them. For those of you who know me personally (or know them), I'm referring to the Parkers (whose blog you can follow here when you need a dose of laughter or food for thought). I wanted to write about this when it happened last spring, but I guess better late than never, n'est pas?

I had been watching Anaya, Seth, and Skyler for the afternoon, and it had been a lot of fun. We played some games, read some stories, and then Seth and Anaya wanted to go outside. So outside we went. As I sat on the porch with Skyler and Seth, I watched the sky, and they did as well. There were dark storm clouds above threatening to let loose a furious downpour.

"I don't yike storms," Skyler told me nervously.

Seth responded before I could, and with a melancholy look on his face said, "I love storms."

I smiled, and told Skyler, "I love storms, too. Do you want to know why?"

"Yesh," he replied.

So I told Seth and Skyler the story of the Israelites camped at the base of Mt. Sinai when God came down to speak to Moses. I read to them Exodus 19:16 where it says that there was thunder and lightning and a thick cloud on the mountain because God's Presence was there. And I told them that I loved storms in part because they remind me of God's power; storms make me feel like God is near.

Skyler wasn't convinced. But we stayed outside a while longer and played some games in the yard.

Later that evening shortly after Dr. and Mrs. Parker got home, the sky let loose. Rain was pounding the ground, wind whipping tree branches, and the tornado sirens started sounding over at the university. After some discussion, Dr. and Mrs. Parker decided that they would pack a few things and head over to Dr. Parker's office since they didn't have a basement in their house. I decided to head back home, but just before I got out the door, Skyler came over to me.

"I yike storms because we get to go to daddy's office." His eyes sparkled with excitement as he smiled up at me. His fear of the storm was completely forgotten.

At that moment, I wished that I were more like Skyler. Somehow there's a slight disconnect in my mind between physical storms and life storms. I love real storms for a lot of reasons. I especially love that they make me feel so small and make me feel that God's Presence is near. But for some reason, I haven't particularly carried that view and those feelings over to life storms. Somehow when I'm in the midst of a life storm, it seems so much easier to forget that God is near, so much easier to feel lost and alone.

Skyler's reason for liking storms should be mine as well. He was thrilled for an excuse to spend time with his father. He was grateful for an opportunity to be with his dad and to be protected by him. As long as Skyler could be with his father during the storm, there was no room for fear, only space for excitement and joy.

What if I reacted to life storms in the same manner? How amazing it would be if whenever a trial or difficulty presented itself in my life, I reacted by being excited for an opportunity to draw closer to God. How it might warm God's heart if I were anxious to see how He was going to come through for me, how He was going to protect and carry me through the storm, instead of being anxious about the potential damage that might result from the storm.

"He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore." ~Psalm 121:3-8, ESV

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." ~Isaiah 26:3, 4, ESV

Saturday, January 21

The Truth About Apathy

Let me tell you the truth about apathy: it hurts. Deeper than hatred, it wounds the heart.

It's been a while since I recognized this truth, and I've processed and worked through my thoughts and feelings on this matter. So now I'm sharing them with you because I caught a small glimpse of the heart of God, and I want you to see it too.

A while ago, I was really struggling in one of my friendships. I was really upset because I valued this friendship, and I felt like my friend had become completely indifferent towards me. It seemed like no matter how much I tried to be friendly, they didn't care. In fact, in my mind, it began to seem like the more friendly I was, the more apathetic they became. This quickly turned into a very discouraging situation. I cried, I prayed, I racked my brain for answers. Finally, I realized that I couldn't keep doing it; I was not going to force my friendship somewhere it was not wanted. So, I backed off. And silently mourned the loss of a friendship that I still don't really have any hope of recovering.

My friend's apathy towards me was worse than hatred, because hatred at least requires a person to feel like you're worth spending their emotional energy on; indifference breeds a feeling of worthlessness because they don't even care enough to hate you. In addition, anger is likely to subside one day; it comes back again and again, flaunting its pain in your face until you deal with it. But apathy nestles quietly somewhere deep in the recesses of a heart where it is not likely to be disturbed again.

Somewhere in the midst of all of this emotional turmoil, I remember pouring my heart out to God. I told Him exactly how I felt. I told Him how hurt I was to lose a friend, one that I still cared about a lot. I told Him how their apathy made me feel, how it wounded my heart. And then it struck me. God gets that. He knows that feeling-- a billion times over. How many days of Earth's existence has God, who by definition is love, had to deal with the indifference of millions of His very own Creation? How often has God extended His love to us, not willing to force His love, but waiting with baited breath to see if we would accept His offer of friendship? How often has God backed off, mourning the loss of His Love and hoping that the day might come when we would change our minds? How deeply have we wounded His heart with our apathetic acknowledgment of His existence while we choose to invest our time and emotions in transitory endeavors?

Let me tell you the truth about apathy: it hurts. Deeper than hatred, it wounds the heart.

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. . . Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.'" ~Revelation 3:15, 16, 20, ESV

Wednesday, January 11


"What might it not mean for others if all of us who are seeking after a country of our own, a better Country, that is, a heavenly, lived more like pilgrims here?" ~Gold Cord: The Story of a Fellowship by Amy Carmichael

Have you ever traveled to a foreign country? Have you spent any length of time there? If you have, you will understand what I'm about to write.

No matter how much time you spend in a foreign country, no matter how familiar you become with their food, their mindset, their language, or their sayings, it is always quite obvious that you do not belong. You look different. You have a different worldview. Your values, the things that are important to you, the way you see life are all different. You are from a different culture, and theirs will always be foreign to you. Theirs is not your heritage. You may come close to feeling like you fit in. You may even begin to identify with their culture; in fact, you may begin to feel like you're trapped somewhere in between their culture and your own. But their culture is still not completely your own.

What if we as Christians really lived as if this world were not our home? What if we were so wrapped up in our heavenly home culture, so identified by it that it would become quite obvious to anyone we would meet on Earth that we do not belong here in this worldly culture-- that it is not our own? What would life look like if this Earthly culture were always foreign to us? What kind of difference could we make in this world if we lived more like pilgrims here and less like natives?

Wednesday, January 4

All Came to Pass

And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. ~Joshua 21:44, 45

Reminders of God's faithfulness and goodness are always welcome. What an amazing one for the start of a new year. May I remember this year that God's promises, His Word, never fails. All that He has said will come to pass.

And one day we will have rest from this weary world, just as He has promised.